Although many adult dragonflies remain relatively close to where they emerged, certain species may sometimes undertake long distance movements or migrations. In Britain, migration is most obvious in the occasional appearance of non-resident species, but there are also influxes of several species which also occur here as residents. Unlike the migrations of birds, and even of some lepidoptera, such dragonfly movements are however often very poorly understood, and their relevance to conservation aspects is not known.The Migrant Dragonfly Project was established in the mid 1990's as a means to improve our understanding of the details of, and reasons for, dragonfly migration. Recent results have indicated that a number of migrants also appear to be becoming commoner in Britain than earlier this century (e.g. Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombei and Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope). One less-expected spin-off from the Migrant Dragonfly Project might thus also be a better understanding of range changes which many European Odonata appear to be experiencing at present (for whatever reasons).
Migrant species to watch for
Typical migrant species to Britain include the following:
|Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta||Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum|
|Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope||Ruddy Darter S. sanguineum|
|Vagrant Emperor Hemianax ephippiger||Vagrant Darter S. vulgatum|
|Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata||Red-veined Darter S. fonscolombei|
|Scarlet Darter Crocothemis erythraea||Yellow-winged Darter S. flaveolum|
A number of other species have turned up on a few occasions, and it is likely that further species will be added to the list in the coming years (c.f. the addition of an American species, Common Green Darner Anax junius, in the autumn of 1998.)
Observers are encouraged to submit records of migrants they have seen to the Migrant Dragonfly Project. Information is urgently wanted not only on the rarer species, but also on immigration of the common species which also occur as residents in Britain. Such immigration can often be detected by sightings of either obvious directional movements, unusual numbers of individuals, or by the presence of dragonflies in atypical habitats. Records should be submitted to the Project Co-ordinator, Adrian Parr (firstname.lastname@example.org; 10 Orchard Way, Barrow, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk IP29 5BX). Special recording forms are available for those who wish to become more than casually involved; observers are kindly requested to provide written or photographic evidence to support claims of extreme rarities. Results are summarised each year in the Journal of the British Dragonfly Society.